CHICAGO (CBS) — When you go online to buy tickets for a play, a concert or sporting event, be sure you know who you are buying from.
2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports that clicking on the wrong link can cost you lots of extra money.
The theatrical production “Shen Yun” is billed as a spectacle of music and dance.
“I thought this is something I really want to take my daughters to,” said Danae Beverley.
So Beverley searched for four tickets on her iPad.
“This purchase was my first ticket purchase online,” Beverley said.
Beverley thought she was dealing directly with the Paramount Theater in Aurora, which is one of the theaters where Shen Yun will be playing.
But instead, she was on the website tickets-center.com. Beverley thought she was buying four tickets for $130 a piece, but as she was submitting her order she noticed something alarming.
“Within a second my price went from $520 to $1,070,” Beverley recalled.
And instead of main floor seats they were up in the balcony, second to last row.
Beverley called tickets-center.com to complain.
“She told me that these ticket prices can change in a matter of a second, and I said ‘No, you don’t understand, they doubled in price,’ and she said, ‘Oh, well,'” she said.
“They could have gotten it a lot cheaper if they went to the venue itself,” said Chicago Better Business Bureau President and C.E.O. Steve Bernas.
Bernas said over the past three years, the agency has received more than 2,000 complaints regarding ticket brokers.
“These ticket brokers sometimes disguise themselves, and make it look like the venue, and somehow — in consumers’ words — trick you into thinking that you’re buying from them when your not,” said Bernas.
“People are absolutely getting ripped off,” said Jim Jarvis, of the Paramount Theater
Jarvis said the Paramount Theater warns its customers to watch out for third party ticket sellers.
“You know its becoming more and more a bigger problem for us,” Jarvis said. “You guys are great for doing this, we try to get as much attention as possible for this and it just kind of gets swept under the rug.”
But, for Danae Beverley, a fun family outing has forever been tarnished.
“It turned into a financial mess,” said Beverley. “I’m afraid other people are going to get taken for a lot of money, $1,000 to me is a lot of money.”
Beverly has disputed the charges with her credit card company and so far has been unsuccessful in getting the charges removed from her account.
Tickets-center.com did not respond to our attempts to reach a spokesperson.
In Illinois, ticket brokers must disclose on their websites that they are not the main venue, and that they may be selling tickets above face value. Tickets-center.com has a warning on their website. Beverley says she did not see it.
The folks at the Paramount theatre think that warning should be much more visible.
In the absence of additional warnings, experts say you should read everything on the websites carefully before submitting a purchase. And always use a credit card to dispute charges.